Simo Muir

(Honorary Senior Research Fellow / Dept. of Hebrew and Jewish Studies, University College London, UK)

War and the Holocaust in Yiddish Music Theatre in Helsinki

This presentation focuses on the Yiddish music theatre and revue performances in Helsinki during and after the Second World War. Helsinki-born Jac Weinstein (1883–1976) wrote scripts with song lyrics to existing melodies that dealt with the hardships on the home frontier and on the battlefield and were performed by a local Yiddish theatre group. His texts also satirized Finnish-German alliance during the Continuation War (1941–1944) and expressed despair and anxiety about the news of the ongoing genocide of European Jewry. Weinstein’s major post-war creation was a pageant with choral music commemorating the victims of the Holocaust.

Henrik Rosengren

(Associate Professor / History, Lund University, SE)

War, Holocaust Memories, and Art Music in the Nordic Countries

I will talk about how the memory of The Holocaust has been expressed and related to in art music during the second half of the 20th Century. My empirical focus is some cases from the Nordic countries from composers such as Moses Pergament and Herman Koppel, but also Arnold Schönberg and Henryk Gorecki, whose Holocaust-compositions has been interpreted in a plethora of ways. My aim is to relate the interpretations to different phases of the Holocaust memory, from a supposed silence about the Holocaust during the end of the 1940s to a globalization of the memory from circa 1990´s and onwards.

Anne Kauppala

(Professor / Music Performance Research, Uniarts Helsinki Sibelius Academy, FI)

Louis Laber and troublesome identities

The 1920s was a decade of political turmoil in Finland. While she was slowly recovering from the 1918 Civil War the fear of the Soviet Union remained and encompassed even Russian-born individuals. Several activist movements were formed and particularly the members of the rightist ones often occupied influential positions in public institutions and organs. The Finnish Opera was a notable exception, as it was run by a liberal-minded Edward Fazer, who besides relying on Finnish natives, hired artistic staff through German agencies. This is how Louis Laber was recruited as the “Oberregisseur” of the Finnish Opera. His time in Finland, unfortunately, lasted only six months, as he committed suicide during the Christmas of 1929 after his visa was not extended and he was demanded to leave Finland within two weeks. When entering Finland, Laber was undoubtedly aware of the growing antisemitism in Europe. Also, his newly received Soviet-Russian passport was not the most assuring travel document. Therefore, understandably, Laber didn’t trumpet around his official identities – Jewish, Ukrainian, Soviet-Russian – but rather emphasized his belonging to German cultural sphere as the ex-Oberregisseur of the Prague German Opera. This paper explores a few cases of Laber’s identity building, particularly his performance of German lieder in the Finnish Broadcasting Company.

Anne Piirainen

(Visiting Researcher / Uniarts Helsinki’s Research Institute, FI)

Muted Melodies – tracing the influence of Stalin´s oppression on the work of composers with Jewish roots

The talk focuses on how the use of Jewish traditional musical elements changed in selected clarinet compositions under the dictatorship of Stalin.

Philippe Olivier

(PhD, Honorary Senior Visiting Professor at Institut d’études politiques, Strasbourg University)

Women musicians during the occupation of France by Nazi Germany (1940–45): Resistance fighters and “collaborators”

The occupation of France by Nazi Germany (1940-1945) obviously had consequences in the cultural field. The musical world was divided into two camps: the “ collaborators ” and the resistance fighters. My paper will focus on the French sopranos Germaine Lubin (1890-1979) and Irène Joachim (1913-2001). Lubin sang in Bayreuth for Hitler, being shameless with the occupier and was heavily condemned by the courts after the Liberation. Joachim belonged to the Résistance, was a member of the French Communist Party, glorified Stalin and lashed out until the end of his life against his colleagues who believed that the Vichy government would save the dignity of France.

Dario Martinelli

(Professor / History and Theory of Arts, Kaunas University of Technology, LT)

Resistance or Resistances? The different political models of musical protest 

The presentation will focus on how ideological and moral values intervene in the definition of modes and strategies of musical resistance. The analysis will mostly occur through a comparison of musical events and movements belonging to different, ideologically-opposite, cultural-political contexts, such as, to make a trivial example, anti-Soviet vs. anti-Fascist resistance.

Simo Mikkonen

(Senior Researcher / Dept. of History and Ethnology, University of Jyväskylä, FI)

Subtle Resistance: Soviet musicians performing unofficial Soviet music in Cold War Finland

During the Cold War years, Finland was a place where numerous high profile Soviet musicians made appearances. Mostly, their repertory followed the Soviet norms, but there were also those that publicized contemporary composers whose music was not favored by Soviet authorities. These musicians took a calculated risk in promoting the music of their friends or colleagues abroad. In some cases, this boosted the international career of these composers, but could also lead to trouble back home. Even though this was not open rebellion, it was, however, a form of resistance, undermining the Soviet system of censorship. This presentation will provide examples of composers and musicians participating in these activities. Finland played an important part in the career trajectory of composers like Schnittke, Pärt, and Gubaiduline, for example.

Saijaleena Rantanen

(Associate Professor, University Lecturer / Uniarts Helsinki Sibelius Academy, FI)  

Memories of the Civil War in music

This talk will consider the role of music and songs in the ”red” commemoration of the Finnish Civil War (1918) and the subsequent period of mass prison camps. How was music used as a means of remembering the war and what was saved in music?

Inkeri Jaakkola

(Composer, Lecturer / Composition and music theory, Uniarts Helsinki Sibelius Academy, FI)

“Kupalinka, Variations on a Belarusian Song” as a wordless protest and an expression of sympathy

The talk deals with the artistic process and compositional choices as emotional reactions on the background information concerning the popular Belarusian song Kupalinka.